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A Study in Contrasts

This week we had to submit our case study to our peer review group in the class Gospel and Cultures. My three peer group partners are from Ethiopia, Tansania, and Burma. It was sobering to read the contrast between their case studies and mine. My study focuses on the current How Do I Fit Project that I’m doing with the senior high youth group at Grace. I’m asking questions about how I can engage privileged, white, middle class students in spiritual questions when they are media saturated and overly busy with sports and social lives. My colleagues are talking about how to minister to people who are being raped, imprisoned, and murdered for being Christian, or about how to overcome superstition and witchcraft in the villages.

I know it is not fair to compare. I am where I am, and the suburban American struggles with her own demons and gifts. Yet, it reminds me of how blind we are in our privileged state to the reality of life in most of the world around us.

My prayer is that all of us, as we work with these case studies, will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to highlight the Gospel and be conduits of grace and hope to the people we love in our contexts.


  • Terry Kornberg October 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Very sobering to read this and how the worries of people in other parts of this world make ours seem so petty.

  • Mary Hess November 4, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    AMEN. This is one reason why systemic power analysis becomes so essential — particularly for middle class congregations — because we need to understand how we got to where we are, and the deeply destructive costs of staying there. We need to learn how to live in the grace of God’s kenosis, which is a form of power middle class white folk have very little personal experience with, at least consciously or intentionally.

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